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Why is this year different from all other years? Because this year in the Jewish religion, Birkat HaChamah, the blessing for the sun, takes place after its 28-year Life Cycle span, and marks the moment that the sun is in the exact spot as it was on the fourth day of creation. It takes place on the morning of the first seder, April 8. This cycle, the 206th cycle, is especially meaningful because it's only the third time in Jewish history that the time for the blessing has occurred just on the eve of Passover. This special blessing was last recited in 1981.

Local Long Island author, Sandy Wasserman, has written a new children's picture book about this. The Sun's Special Blessing, (Pitspopany/Devorah Press) for grades two through five, takes place in a classroom. In the story, the teacher, Mr. Jacobs, invites the students to share his own 1981 experience when he was a student their own age. Shovels in hand, they unearth a time capsule from that year, remark about the secular and Jewish objects, learn the blessing and then build their own 2009 time capsule filled with their own memorabilia and artifacts. They then bury it, so that those who find it in 2037, will know more about our lives today.

Although it's both a Passover book and a "Birkat HaChamah" book, and primarily a Jewish book, it reminds us all to value our planet, the sun and the natural environment, and enjoy each day to 2037, and beyond.

The book is available at local Judaica stores, at Barnes & Noble and through the author directly. Visit her website at http://web.mac.com/sfwasserman.


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